Saturday, February 04, 2023

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Ben Howard!

Born on this day in 1904: famous aviator and award-winning aeronautic engineer Ben Howard. Never heard of him? Educate yerself, son!:

from "Hall of Fame of the Air" in King Comics #30 (David McKay, September 1938), script by also-famous aviator Eddie Rickenbacker, pencils and inks by Clayton Knight

Happy birthday, Cap'n Howard!

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Tom Sniegoski!

Born on this day: comic book scripter, novelist, and journalist Tom Sniegoski! His comics include Angel (the Buffy guy, not the X-Men guy!), The Punisher and Wolverine/Punisher, The Goon, Vengeance of Vampirella, Young Hellboy, Bone's Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails, and many more; among his many novels are The Fallen, Magic Zero, Owlboy, and Remy Chandler series.

from Marvel Knights Sketchbook (Marvel/Wizard, August 1998), text by Tom Sniegoski, pencils by Bernie Wrightson

Happy birthday, Tom!

from Dynamite Comics cover-dated April 2022

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Dez Skinn!

Born on this day: British comics editor, scripter, and publisher Dez Skinn! He was the editor-in-chief at Marvel UK during its heyday in the late '70s, and later founded and edited Starburst and the influential and vital UK comic Warrior which included among its serialized strips Alan Moore's Marvelman (Miracleman) and V for Vendetta! He holds a Guinness World Records certificate and credit for creating the world's longest-lasting TV tie-in magazine: Doctor Who Weekly, and founded and ran Quality Comics, a famous London SF/fantasy shop, and the publishing line named for it, Quality Communications!

It's fair to say that without Dez Skinn on this Earth, we woulda never got the 1980s British Invasion of comics that so transformed DC and led to the founding of Vertigo.

from "1986 AD" in Comic Book Comics #5 (Evil Twin, March 2011); script by Fred Van Lente; pencils, inks, and letters by Ryan Dunlavey. Read the entire chapter (in color!) over at Ryan Dunlavey's website

Today in Comics History, February 4: Happy birthday, Antibody!

Born on this day in 1958, in the World Outside Your Window™ (copyright ©1986 Jim Shooter): Randy O'Brien, the amazing Antibody of D.P.7!

from D.P.7 #20 (Marvel/New Universe, June 1988), creators uncredited and unknown

A very displaced birthday to ya, Antibody!

Today in Comics History, February 4, 1985: This guy is no longer out standing in his field

from Psi-Force #21 (Marvel/New Universe, July 1988), script by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Ron Lim, inks by Mike Witherby, colors by Nelson Yomtov, letters by Rick Parker

Today in Comics History, February 4, 1962: Happy birthday, Star-Lord!

This is an combined and updated version of posts originally published February 4, 2014 and 2017.

Born today in 1962: Peter Quill, Star-Lord! Well, at least the black-and-white pre-Guardians of the Galaxy non-Marvel Universe version of him. Yes, he was born on the exact same day that Elvis's rural version of "In the Ghetto" hit the Billboard charts!

from "Starlord: First House: Earth!" in Marvel Preview #4 (Marvel, January 1976), script by Steve Englehart, pencils and inks by Steve Gan, letters by Tom Orzechowski

Yes, the very same day that, a lucky thirteen years later, Quill runs away from home so he doesn't have to shovel the driveway.

Happy birthday, Star-Lord! For this special day we will say that yes, everyone in the galaxy has heard of you.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Today in Comics History, February 3: Happy birthday, Victor Buono!

Born on this day in 1938: actor Victor Buono, whose film and TV credits include What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (he was nominted for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe!), Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Silencers, Robin and the 7 Hoods, The Wild Wild West, Vega$, and many more, including the 1967 heist comedy Who's Minding the Mint?. Mint is a favorite of mine because it stars Jim Hutton (Ellery Queen), and also includes Milton Berle, Walter Brennan, Joey Bishop (it's his birthday today, too!) and Bob Denver, and is co-written by Batman's second-favorite cop, Harvey Bullock! Buono, as "The Captain," is pictured here on the cover (in the back of the boat) in Dell Comics's adaptation of Mint!

photo cover of Who's Minding the Mint? [Movie Comic #12-924-708] one-shot (Dell, August 1967). Yeah, I don't know what's up with that numbering system either.

Today in Comics History, February 3: Happy birthday, Gertrude Stein!

A happy birthday today to writer and lesbian icon Gertrude Stein, born on this day in 1874. She's the author of dozens of works including the bafflingly titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Happy birthday, Gert! Everybody loves Gertrude Stein, right, James Joyce?

from Shade, the Changing Man (1990 series) #31 (DC, January 1993), script by Peter Milligan, pencils by Colleen Doran, inks by Mark Buckingham, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

Well, I like Gertrude Stein, because she always offers you some framboise. I'm not certain what framboise is, but I bet it's a delicious cream-filled dessert pastry.

Celebrate Gertrude Stein's birthday by cutting out these paper dolls of her and heterosexual life partner Alice B. Toklas!

"Gertrude and Alice" from Real Girl #5 (Fantagraphics, April 1993); script, art, pencils, inks, and letters by Trina Robbins
(Click picture to rose is a rose is a rose is a rose-size)

Happy birthday, Ms. Stein!

Today in Comics History, February 3: Happy birthday, Elizabeth Blackwell!

Born on this day in 1821: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. From 1821 to 1827, nothing happened to her. Then, suddenly:

from "The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell" in Wonder Woman (1942 series) #19 (DC, September 1946), script by Alice Marble, pencils and inks by Alfonso Greene

Today in Comics History, February 3, 1945: A brown paper envelope is invaded

from General Douglas MacArthur one-shot (Fox, 1951), creators uncredited and unknown

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Today in Comics History, February 2, Groundhog Day: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Nancy knows.

Nancy (United Feature Syndicate, February 2, 1949), by Ernie Bushmiller

Today in Comics History, February 2: Happy birthday, Fred Apostoli!

Born on this day in 1913: Fred Apostoli, world champion middleweight boxer (1937) and inductee into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. That's almost as much fame as Irene Cara! The below feature was originally published in the syndicated Sport Features Sunday pre-1937, so when King Comics reprinted it, they oughta have crossed out that "near!"

"Near Champs" from King Comics #30 (David McKay, September 1938), pencils and inks by Jack Burnley

With a pedigree like that (Fred, not Seabiscuit), you'da thought he'd appear a lot in comic books, right? Well, he did appear in the prestigious Action Comics...but just as a reference to another boxer named Fred, Freddie Steele.

from "Odds 'n Ends" in Action Comics (1938 series) #8 (DC, January 1939), pencils and inks by Sheldon Moldoff

Even tho' you didn't get to box against Superman, Fred, have a happy birthday!

Today in Comics History, February 2, 1952: Door-to-door salesman gets really lucky

from Fantastic Four (2023 series) #1/694 (Marvel, January 2023), script by Ryan North, pencils and inks by Iban Coello, colors by Jesus Aburtov, letters by Joe Caramagna

Today in Comics History, February 2, Groundhog Day: This is one time where comics really fail to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather

Barnaby (Field Enterprises Syndicate, February 2, 1944), by Crockett johnson

Today in Comics History, February 2, Groundhog Day: Mr. Wilson contemplates reenacting the final scenes of Fargo with Dennis

from "Febrrruary" in Dennis the Menace Bonus Magazine Series #160 (Hallden/Fawcett, January 1977), creators uncredited and unknown (Owen Fitzgerald?)

Today in Comics History, February 2, 1941: Perry White makes Clark Kent sit on story for ten months

from "Crime Without Motive" in Crime Fighting Detective #19 (Star, June 1952), pencils and inks by R. Louis Golden

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The 1978 2017 2023 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: February Freezing

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published February 1, 2017.

It's now February, the winter month that knows better than to hang around too long, what with its icy chills. February is a short as possible, except for every four years when it gets a little too full of itself. Anyway, that means it's time for a freeze-themed (brrrrrrr!) DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters!

"February: The Flash" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters (DC, 1977); artwork by Irv Novick
(Click picture to iceberg-size)

Packing his Bermuda shorts instead of his snow pants, Flash goes to Florida in February. Much to my disappointment, he doesn't even get to wrestle any alligators. Instead, he's battling two cold-themed criminals, Captain Cold and Mister Freeze! Oooh, I bet there'll be lotsa ice puns in this story! In fact, there may be a flurry of them!

And while Flash and Kid Flash and their pet Cat Flash Fever face off against Captain Cold and Mister Freeze and Black Raspberry Slurpee Dog, let's take a peek at the JLA computer. (Beep! Boop! Bleep!) As you remember, throughout each month you darken specific squares on the grid to eventually reveal the head honcho behind the calamitous catastrophes faced by the Justice League! After following all the instructions in January, here's what he have so far!

Well, it's still early days yet, but I think I see a horsie.

Also, here's another clue to the chief supervillain's identity, and it too is cold-themed!

I haven't the slightest idea who this mastermind could be, but at least we get a big lovely colorful fight sequence illo by Irv Novick all this February. Ice to see that!

Today in Comics History, February 1, 1946: School's out / For Hitler

Schoolteachers! Badly needed! That's why Timely Comics is going to turn Steve Rogers, Captain America, from an all-action Army man (he came in one of those little tubs with 499 other green Army guys) into the most adventurous job of them all, frought with danger, intrigue, and!

from "The Private Life of Captain America" in Captain America Comics (1941 series) #59 (Marvel/Timely, November 1946), script by Bill Finger, pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by George Klein (?)

I would be suspicious of the initials of that principal, Cap. "HH?" He might as well have listed the school's address as 1488 Himmler Way! And that school name...Lee! Man, that guy sounds pretty suspicious, doesn't he?

The 1978 2017 2023 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: February Fiasco

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published February 1, 2017.

"February Is for Fantastic Friends!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (Marvel, 1977);
pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Verpooten
(Click picture to sales-of-Rod Stewart-Do-Ya-Think-I'm-Sexy-in-1978-size)

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Today in Comics History, January 29, 1942: Okay, okay, stop trying to make all the other guys in your platoon look bad

from "Lieut. Nininger, Jr." in Heroic Comics #16 (Eastern Color, January 1943), creators uncredited and unknown